officer Jarvis

Officer Jarvis fist bumps third graders Kinley Miller, center, and Gabe Miller, left, in the hallway of Edison Elementary School. (Feb. 2020)

ASHLAND -- As the year comes to a close, Ashland Source's newsroom is making an intentional choice to highlight the positive or otherwise progressive news that came from 2020. 

We're well aware of how COVID-19 has impacted the year and didn't feel the need to rehash what has already dominated this year's news.

The pandemic was not the only newsworthy story of 2020. Projects moved forward across Ashland County. New businesses opened, and existing ones expanded. People came together to support one another -- sometimes because of the pandemic and other times for unrelated reasons. 

We hope you'll enjoy looking back on Ashland County's 2020. 

News you won't want to forget

AU dedicates Jack W. Liebert Military and Veteran Resource Center

The newest addition to Ashland University’s campus is meant to enhance the college experience for student veterans. 

The Jack W. Liebert Military & Veteran Resource Center was made possible in part through a $1 million gift.

Ashland Kroc Center breaks ground on $7.2 million expansion project, to include indoor water park

The Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center broke ground on a 20,185 square-foot expansion at 527 East Liberty Street in May 2020.

The $7.2 million dollar project, which will include an indoor waterpark and fitness center, is expected to be complete early next summer.

Ashland school resource officer's hulk hands help him connect with students

Before the pandemic, the Edison Elementary School's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) surprised Officer Jeremy Jarvis with a pair of Hulk gloves to use as he greets students every morning with his routine fist bumps.  

He received regional attention for his efforts. 

Ashland girl was finalist at Pinto World Championship 

When Stanzi Moser of St. Edward School flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma this past November to compete in the competition, she and her pinto horse commendably represented Ashland with their performance. 

Ashland County to receive $1.7 million in state funding

This news from November will have an impact for years to come.

Organizations across Ashland County will receive more than $1.7 million in state funding to support 11 community projects, including four that Mayor Matt Miller says will be transformative for downtown Ashland.  

How county and city projects progressed

Improvements begin at Ashland County's newest park

The planned improvements for the Tom Kruse Wildlife Conservation Park in Montgomery Township began in March when a small fishing pond was drained. 

Fourth Street officially opens as 2-way street Friday in Ashland

The newly renovated street sits adjacent to "The Pump House District." This area will be undergoing major development in the coming years. 

Commissioners approve nearly $30k for repair, boiler at former Pump House building

The county purchased the 44,000-square-foot building for $146,000 in April.


Main Street Plaza (June 2020)

Ashland City Council discusses construction of Main Street Plaza

Located next to Ohio Fire Pizza, a 9,000 square-foot downtown park will be installed, featuring three life-sized bronze statues depicting a lion, tiger and a bear.

There will also be a black iron archway installed at the entrance, featuring the yet-to-be-announced name of the plaza. The irrigated courtyard will feature a covered stage and will occupy the location of the previously contemplated downtown splash pad.

Developer to purchase Hess and Clark building in exchange for demolition, cleanup

In November, Ashland City Council unanimously approved selling the 10 East 7th Street property to Abacus Industrial Development for $100 in exchange for the removal of the decaying structure.

Demolitions begin along Ashland's proposed Center Run Trail

Demolitions began along Ashland's proposed Center Run Trail in April. Page Demolition and Excavating started to tear down the first few structures, located along portions of Cleveland Avenue and Main Street -- beginning at Bicentennial Park (near the Dairy Queen) up to Miller Street.

The structures were removed to restore the riparian corridor, or the area along Town Creek, which was called "Center Run" on early maps. Currently, the structures exist within a flood plain. 

Eventually, the city plans to add trail along the creek. 

Ashland Fire Division makes history with 2nd station groundbreaking

The Ashland Fire Division officially broke ground for the city of Ashland’s second fire station in October. 

Construction is expected to be complete by June 20, 2021. 

How new businesses opened and expanded

Adapting to the circumstances: Black Fork Bistro opens with carry-out only in Loudonville

Tuesday, March 24 marked the Black Fork Bistro's first day of business.

Doors opened at 11 a.m. for the 153 West Main Street eatery, and within 90 minutes more than 50 orders were already placed. 

Introducing: South Street Grille 

Ashland natives Sean and Carly Little opened South Street Grille in the 100-year-old building at 121 South Street, next to Substance Church.

Ohio Fire now open on Ashland's Main Street 

Ohio Fire features both inside and outside dining as well as a bar. The new restaurant opened on Ashland's Main Street earlier this fall. 

A-Town Tap

A-Town Tap is located at 47 E. Main Street in downtown Ashland.

A-Town Tap opens in Downtown Ashland 

A-Town Tap, which took the place of Tap Room on Main after it shut down, opened at 47 E. Main Street right across the road from Ohio Fire.

Hayesville's new indoor sports training facility offers rainy day alternative throughout summer

The 15,000 square-foot athletic facility opened in January 2020 after an extensive renovation led by local businessman Ben Ferguson.

The space was a former rodeo barn that had sat vacant for nearly two decades. 

Coffyspace Coworking opens on Ashland's Main Street

Josh Coffy calls the first floor at 43 West Main Street the "Port."

The 4,600 square-foot space is an extension of what he's informally operated as a coworking space previously at 12 West Main Street, which also offers desks and amenities.

Schoonover Industries to begin $1.2 million expansion project in August

Schoonover Industries was to expand its existing facility at 1440 Simanton Rd. by an additional 9,650 square feet, a project that will allow the metal fabricator to serve more customers. 

Fire house inn lead

The house at 446 South Market Street was built in 1931.

Firehouse Inn: From family home to Mohican area vacation rental

The house at 446 South Market Street feels especially welcoming and homey to lifelong Loudonville resident and third generation firefighter, Joe Kiefer.

Kiefer, who renovated the property into a vacation rental with his wife Lara, grew up inside the quaint, two-story house.

The house and nearby barn were built in 1931 by Kiefer's great-grandfather and served as the Kiefer family home for generations to come. 

The Inn at Ashland Woods will have assisted living at its new facility

The Inn at Ashland Woods was managed by the McClain family of Newark. The group also manages several other assisted living facilities throughout Ohio.

New Taco Bell to open in 2021

The fast food restaurant will be located directly beside the Denny's near the intersection of State Route 250 E. and County Road 1575 in Ashland. 

OhioHealth Ashland Health Center expected to have early 2021 opening 

Located on State Route 250 and George Road, the $14 million building will expand OhioHealth services in Ashland. 

How the community gave 

Ashland man gifts Farm & Home Hardware shopping spree to Associated Charities

When an Ashland man won a shopping spree recently from a downtown store, he chose to give it to a local nonprofit rather than spend it on himself.

According to Farm & Home Hardware general manager Chuck Hodous, the winner Mike Bradley immediately asked to donate his $500 prize to Associated Charities and the Ashland County Food Bank.


Keith Guynes, center, used his $1,200 stimulus check from the federal government to purchase equipment for the Nankin-Orange Township Fire Department.

Veteran donates stimulus check to Nankin-Orange Township Fire Department

When Keith Guynes learned he'd receive a $1,200 stimulus check from the federal government in late April, he set out to use the money for other people. 

Instead of buying something he wanted or needed, the Nankin resident and Cold War Veteran decided he'd purchase equipment for the Nankin-Orange Township Fire Department.

Hayesville veteran donates stimulus check to local fire department

Curtis Smith, 92, could have bought a new tractor with his stimulus check. 

The longtime Hayesville resident and Korean War veteran said he has what he needs, so he could have bought something he wanted. But instead Smith decided to donate his entire $1,200 to the Hayesville-Vermillion Fire Department. 

How the community came together despite hardship

Jeromesville recognizes beloved resident with tractor procession as alternative to traditional funeral

Years from now, the people of Jeromesville will talk about the funeral procession held Thursday, March 26 for lifelong resident Bill Cameron. 

They'll remember how the community was determined to recognize the owner of Big Rock Farms despite restrictions on large gatherings, how more than fifty tractors drove down South High Street for the occasion and how one beloved individual could bring people together from a distance during the coronavirus pandemic.

How the Ashland Public Library is engaging families with outdoor reading opportunities

StoryWalk Ashland features large laminated pages mounted to wooden posts along the park's walking path.

Josh Hildebrand

Josh Hildebrand demonstrates how the face shields made by Ashland County residents and their own 3D printers can be worn.

Ashland residents are using  3D printers to manufacture face shields

The owners of approximately 20 3D printers across Ashland County mobilized to manufacture face shields for employees at area nursing homes, hospitals and retail and restaurant workers.

Launched and led by Ashland resident and business owner Josh Hildebrand, the Ashland County Open Source COVID-19 Medical Supplies Facebook Group facilitates collaboration and share open-source designs for key supplies.

Ashland street named in honor of Lt. Garry Alting

The driveway leading to the Ashland City Justice Center was named "Alting Avenue" for Lt. Garry Lee Alting, a 25-year veteran officer with the Ashland Police Division (APD) who died earlier this year.

Cleo Red Fisher Museum offers Victorian Christmas scavenger hunt

According to Kenny Libben, curator of the museum, “with everything going on this year, we felt like everyone could use some excitement — and maybe even some extra gifts.”

The result was a 12-day scavenger hunt, called “The 12 Days of Christmas Pickles.”

Ashland community sends holiday messages to psychiatric hospital patients

Just in time for the holidays, a group of Ashland community members are sending messages of hope and holiday cheer to hundreds of patients at the state's six psychiatric hospitals and several private hospitals.

The note cards with hand-written messages and original artwork were mailed Monday, Dec. 14 through a collaborative effort by Adult Advocacy Centers, Ashland County Mental Health and Recovery Board and the Writing For Recovery group at Pathways Peer Recovery Program at Catholic Charities Community Services. 

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